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Lake Poinsett Recreation Area

Lake Poinsett

One of the largest lakes in the state, Lake Poinsett was named after Joel Poinsett who served as U.S. Secretary of War. He was instrumental in promoting the expedition of Joseph Nicollet and John Fremont who first explored the region in 1838. The party camped on the north side of Lake Poinsett. Today, the lakeshore still provides excellent camping opportunities, as well as many other recreational activities.

Restrictions / Safety

DOT Road Report

Lake Poinsett REcreation Area

45617 S. Poinsett Drive
Arlington, SD 57212
Email: LakePoinsett@state.sd.us

GPS Coordinates

Lat: 44.534183
Long: -97.083956


Make a camping reservation


BasketballBoatingCampingDisc GolfFishingHikingHorseshoesSnowmobilingSwimmingVolleyball

Lodging Info

Facilities / Services

  • Beach
  • Boat Ramp
  • Campground
  • Camping cabins
  • Drinking water
  • Dump station
  • Electric campsites
  • Fish Cleaning Station
  • Fishing Pole Checkout
  • Flush toilets/showers
  • Game Checkout
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Playground
  • Ski beach
  • Vault toilets
  • Visitor Center


The Lake Poinsett Visitor Center and Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the history of the area. During the summer, neighbor Harlan Olson's artifacts are on display. The exhibits will take you back in time from prehistoric days to the late 1990s.


Fishing License Required

  • Walleye
  • Bass
  • Perch
  • Northern Pike
  • Bullheads

ADA / AccessiblE

  • Camping Sites (12E, 85E)
  • Camping Cabins (C1)

Park Specs

  • Reservations: www.campsd.com or 1.800.710.2267
    • Campsites and Cabins: Available up to 90 days prior to arrival
  • Open: Year-round
  • Size: 2 campgrounds with 114 campsites and 3 cabins (each sleeps 4 people)


Northeastern South Dakota: 14 miles northeast of Arlington off US Hwy 81


Location Map
Campground map
Trail map and guide
Walking map
Disc golf map

Area Attractions

In Watertown

  • Terry Redlin Art Center
  • Bramble Park Zoo and Discovery Center

In Brookings

  • SD Art Museum
  • Brookings McCrory Gardens

Nearest Town



Camping fees are subject to sales tax.

Park entrance license required year-round

  • Temporary: Daily license $4 per person or $6 per vehicle
  • Annual: $30 first vehicle | $15 for second vehicle | $65 transferable license


  • $15 non-electrical
  • $19 electrical site

Camping Cabins:

  • $40/night